The service, cuisine, and intimacy of the SeaDream yachts are an even better package than their old incarnation as the Sea Goddess ships. Their flexible itineraries and laid-back atmosphere are designed to pry landlubbers from their resorts and out to sea.
Typical Per Diems: $470+
SeaDream I sails the Caribbean from St. Thomas, San Juan & St. Martin (winter).
SeaDream II sails the Caribbean from St. Thomas, San Juan, St. Martin & Barbados (winter).
If you like a high-quality, sophisticated cruise experience without the formality of the other luxe lines or the crowds of the bigger ships, SeaDream is the answer to your prayers. These former Sea Goddess ships, which started sailing in 1984, have occupied their yachty luxe niche for more than a quarter-century, and they're still a great way to explore the Caribbean and Europe.
All of the 54 one-room, 195-square-foot, oceanview suites are virtually identical, with the bedroom area positioned alongside the cabin's large window (or portholes in the case of Deck 2 suites) and the sitting area inside -- the exact opposite of most ship cabin layouts. During a May 2007 dry dock, the suites on SeaDream I were refreshed with new furniture upholstery, curtains, and bedspreads; same deal in 2008 for SeaDream II. The standard cabins are a bit bigger than Windstar's, and about 100 square feet smaller than those of Seabourn, Silversea, and Regent. None have balconies. Soundproofing between cabins is good and engine noise minimal, as all cabins are located forward and amidships.
Built in the mid-1980s, these ships have a lot more real wood incorporated into the cabins than you'll see on today's newer ships that sport veneers and synthetics at every turn. Wood cabinetry and moldings are complemented by blue-and-white fabrics to create an appealing nautical look with a modern twist. Each suite has a small sitting area with a couch (that can accommodate a third adult or a child) and an entertainment center that includes a flatscreen TV with CD/DVD player (and wired for Internet access). The amount of storage space is plentiful. A minifridge is stocked with sodas and beer (booze from any of the bars and restaurants is included in the rates, but oddly enough, if you want liquor for your minibar, you'll have to pay for it). Bathrooms are compact, as you would expect on ships of this size, but feature huge marble showers with glass doors and a generous supply of Bulgari toiletries. Each cabin comes with a hair dryer and extrathick bathrobes, and all guests are given a set of personalized cotton pajamas with the SeaDream logo to take home. Unlike Silversea and Seabourn, the 24-hour room-service menu is limited to salads and sandwiches, and you cannot order from the restaurant menus.
There are 16 staterooms that are connectable to form eight 390-square-foot Commodore Club Staterooms. The 450-square-foot Owner's Suite has a bedroom, living room, dining area, main bathroom with bathtub and separate oceanview shower, and a guest bathroom. Both ships also have a new, 375-square-foot Admiral suite with a similar layout and amenities.
These ships are not recommended for passengers requiring the use of a wheelchair. Doorways leading to staterooms are not wide enough, many thresholds in public areas are several inches high, and tenders that shuttle passengers from ship to shore in many ports cannot accommodate wheelchairs. Though there are elevators, they don't reach all decks.
The SeaDream yachts retain much of Sea Goddess's former sophisticated decor, but with periodic face-lifts that keep carpeting and furniture spruced up. Stained wood floors, Oriental carpets, and striking exotic floral arrangements are appealing. The Main Salon and its small but popular alcove bar is the place for the weekly captain's cocktail party, plus other group events. One deck above is the Piano Bar, and next door is the ship's small casino, a gift shop, and an attractive library furnished with comfy chairs and stocked with everything from books on military history to Oprah Book Club favorites.
By far, the favorite place to socialize is the Top of the Yacht bar amidships on Deck 6, which has been designed with teak decking, rattan furniture, and contrasting blue-striped cushions. The bar area is partially covered and has alcove seating. On this deck, you'll also find a flotilla of queen-size sun beds for reading, sunbathing, or napping; they're slightly elevated at the stern of the ship to allow for uninterrupted ocean viewing. For those who might want to sleep on deck one night, management will allow it and outfit beds with blankets. There's a large collection of original artwork by exclusively Scandinavian artists, placed throughout the ship and commissioned or otherwise chosen by Linn Brynestad.
Pool Fitness & Spa Facilities
Because yachting is all about being outdoors, there are great open spaces on the SeaDream ships. Stake an early claim to one of the sun beds because they're prime real estate. Eight of them are aftward on Deck 6, and more are forward, near the golf simulator. Aft on Deck 3 is the attractive pool area, with comfortable lounge chairs and umbrellas, tables, a bar, and, not too far away, a hot tub. It's the place where social passengers gather when the ship departs a port to enjoy the view. A covered deck above has more chairs.
Toward the bow on Deck 4 are the beauty salon and an impressively well-designed and well-equipped spa and gym, with four treadmills with flatscreen TVs, an elliptical machine, two stationary bikes, and free weights (and lowish ceilings if you're on the tall side). Classes include aerobics, yoga, and tai chi. The uninterrupted ocean views add a calming diversion while you're burning calories. The teak-lined spa, the Asian Spa and Wellness Center, has three treatment rooms and features the usual decadent (and pricey) suspects, including wraps, facials, and massages, plus more exotic options such as hot-lava-rock massages, a spice-and-yogurt scrub, and a cucumber-and-aloe wrap. You can prebook treatments online at www.seadreamspa.com.
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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.